Maddie Meyers sets, then breaks, national high-school record in 2,000-meter steeplechase
Maddie Meyers, who will be a senior at Northwest School, finished sixth in the 2,000-meter steeplechase at the IAAF World Youth Championships in France. Her time of 6 minutes, 29.2 seconds broke the national high-school record she set earlier at a meet in South Carolina.
Seattle Times staff reporter
It didn't matter to Maddie Meyers that her best chance to compete in the IAAF World Youth Championships was in an event she had little experience racing.
She simply wanted to qualify, find a way to get to Lille, France, and test her best against top-tier international competitors. So, when it was decided that the 2,000-meter steeplechase was her best opportunity, she jumped at it.
She qualified, setting a national high-school record (6 minutes, 32.02 seconds) at the World Youth Track & Field Trials in Myrtle Beach, S.C., along the way.
"Maddie succeeds at just about everything Maddie sets her mind to," said Joe Bisignano, her high school cross-country coach. "She's just a very determined girl."
She didn't stop there. She went to France and broke her own record (6:29.20) on July 10, finishing sixth.
"I wasn't really thinking about time at all in the finals," said Meyers, who will begin her senior year at Northwest School in the fall. "I was too into the race, but I was excited to find out afterward that it was the record.
"It felt really good. It was so cool, because once you're there, there are just tents set up with every team. Everyone is so different and everyone wanted to take pictures with the USA team and get your autograph. It was really cool and racing against them was just super fun."
Competing in a foreign country can be daunting, but Meyers was able to take comfort in a familiar face, running against Glacier Peak standout Amy-Eloise Neale, who was on the team from Great Britain and finished 11th in 6:37.27.
"It was kind of nice, because it makes it not feel as different," Meyers said. "It definitely loosened me up."
After experiencing national and international success in the steeplechase, Meyers plans to continue training in the event, but not at the expense of her high school cross-country and track seasons.
Meyers has a background in ballet that brings balance and body control, and Bisignano and others thought she would be a natural in the steeplechase. Now that she has performed so well, she has at least considered the possibility of competing in the 2012 Olympic Trials, trying to reach a qualifying time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
"We've definitely talked about that," Meyers said. "It would take a lot of hard work throughout this next year. If my times end up getting faster, I think we might as well just go for it and see what happens."
Mason Kelley: 206-464-8277 or email@example.com
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